updated 05:45 am EST, Fri December 9, 2011
Panasonic hatches global smartphone plan
Panasonic has announced plans to enter the highly competitive smartphone space with a new Android line that will start in Europe with a view to expanding to the US and beyond. It will mark the first time in six years that the company has sold phones outside of Japan and comes only weeks after the company signaled a shift away from consumer electronics to alternative energy technology. It aims to move 1.5 million units in the next fiscal year and ultimately 15 million units a year globally by 2016.
The first global Panasonic smartphone will be marked by an ultra-slim D-shaped design "for easy portability," a slim bezel with a qHD 4.3-inch OLED display and which will be water- and dustproof. At this stage, the design that appears in the photos embedded below is being referred to as a prototype and there is no word on its processor or OS version. NFC will, however, be part of the equation. It is said to be aimed at business people aged in their 30s and 40s.
"We are well aware of our powerful competitors," said Toshinori Hoshi, head of Panasonic's mobile communications division. "However, market shares are changing dramatically and if we launch into this fast-changing market, we believe we have a chance of a hit."
The smartphone sector is currently dominated by Apple and Korea's Samsung. The only Japanese company that currently has any kind of global presence is Sony, which recently moved to buyout Ericsson's stake in their 10 year joint venture in order to gain more control and direction over their renewed smartphone push. Panasonic will face an uphill battle if it is to achieve even its relatively modest stake in a global market that is expected to reach sales of 982 million units by 2015. [via Reuters]